Purpose: This phase I study was conducted to establish the dose-limiting toxicitiss and maximum-tolerated dose of erlotinib, an oral epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor, in combination with FOLFIRI, a standard regimen of irinotecan, leucovorin, and infusional 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) in patients with advanced colorectal cancer. Experimental Design: The trial used a dose-escalation design beginning with 100 mg/day erlotinib continuously and dose-reduced FOLFIRI (150 mg/m2 i.v. day 1 irinotecan, 200 mg/m2 i.v. leucovorin, 320 mg/m2 i.v. bolus days 1 to 2 5-FU, and 480 mg/m2 i.v. 5-FU infusion over 22 hours, days 1 to 2) administered in 6-week cycles (three FOLFIRI treatments). Plasma sampling was performed for irinotecan, erlotinib, and 5-FU for pharmacokinetic analysis during cycle 1. Results: The study was halted after six patients at the lowest dose level due to unexpectedly severe toxicities, including disfiguring grade 2 rash (three patients), grade 3 diarrhea (three patients), and grade ≥ 3 neutropenia (three patients). All patients required some dose interruption or reduction of either erlotinib or FOLFIRI, and only one patient completed two 6-week cycles of therapy. Five patients had stable disease after one cycle, and one patient had a partial response. No plasma pharmacokinetic interaction was observed that could explain the observed increased toxicity. Conclusions: FOLFIRI combined with erlotinib causes excessive toxicity at reduced doses. These findings contrast with available data regarding the optimal safety profile of trials combining small molecule epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitors with other conventional chemotherapy and highlight the need to perform safety-oriented studies of such combinations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research